Archives for posts with tag: lake erie

Plan X

Where to start? (Rhetorical) I suppose I do know, the beginning. This might be a little long but I put off writing anything before because I didn’t want to jinx certain things.

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You go back. No, you back. Your butt is too big. Ha, yours is bigger.

The last 8 years had a specific plan for the two of us – pack up the house, become liveaboards and circumnavigate the Great Loop in our worked-on for 8 years Grand Banks 42. Then we got two dogs who grew larger than we had anticipated so now our 42 seemed a little cramped but still liveable. The 2017 summer was when we were going. And everything was in place until …..

Paul found another boat for sale. A little larger all round than our present one, and designed to go blue water cruising but probably still suitable for completing the Great Loop. I was surprised actually because he had always given me the impression that his next boat would be a sail boat even though the GB42 was going to be the last one. But the one he was getting excited about was still a trawler design with 2 great big engines. It was a Kadey Krogen 54.

I am trying not to waffle whilst setting the scene for the last few weeks. While still intending to leave come mid July, Paul had two visits to look at the ‘new’ boat and I had one and we decided, yes despite the fact that she needs so much work doing on her we would make a bid. And guess what, that bid was accepted.

Oh shxt. Now what do we do? We are closing on the ‘new’ boat around 1 August, still leaving on a trip somewhere, and trying to sell our GB42 before we have to make the payment on the KK54.

We did have someone from our home marina very interested in our GB42, test drove it etc but then decided he wasn’t yet ready to leave sailing to become a power boater. So our next dilemma, with which broker should we register her to let the broker sell her?

The final plan ended up being, we would take the GB42 to NC to a broker there, rent a U-Haul van/trailer, drive it down to FL to the new boat. Load it up with enough stuff to get us back to NC to the same marina where we left the GB42 and live there for a while.

But once again, our best laid plans were disrupted.

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Leaving Sandusky Harbor Marina for what we thought was the last time.

We set off from Sandusky heading east, the first night of our trip was going to be in Fairport OH. Just before we passed Cleveland OH, we got a phone call from a gentleman who said he was very interested in buying our boat. Hmmm. And could he come and look her over. Paul and I debated; the weather this week was not too conducive for comfortable cruising towards Buffalo and we had to pick our weather windows carefully, one of them being Sunday, the day this gentleman and his wife would visit.

Fortunately, we decided that we would take this last chance of selling her privately and altered course for Edgewater YC. Spent Saturday cleaning her from top to bottom and awaited our visitors with a little skepticism – how would this turn out?

To cut this part of the story short, they loved the boat, made their decision and said they wanted her. Gave us a deposit and discussed the next couple of weeks’ agenda for hauling her out to survey, who would do the survey, who to contact for transferring the title ……

So we have discarded plan A – do the Loop in the GB42; plan B – take the GB42 to a broker in NC and travel to FL from there; plan X – leave Cleveland, turn west, can’t go anywhere until we find out when the survey will be taking place, cruise a little in local waters until then, haul the boat out for survey, rent a car to drive to Pittsburgh, bring the truck back, with rent-a-trailer, empty the boat again, drive back to Pittsburgh to collect the rest of our stuff for the KK54, hope that we have actually closed on the boat by then, and then drive to FL and offload everything on to the new one.

Are you following this? Haha. Good job we are flexible.

That’s where we are at this moment in time – Plan X, a sort of limbo.

The above is rather the meat and potatoes of the story so far, now for the ‘sauce’ of the last few days that make it more interesting.

Anticipating that we would be on the GB42 for around 2 months we put together a huge amount of stuff to load on to the boat. Paul drove up on Wednesday with a truck full of stuff, food, clothes, dog food etc, all the tools we had taken off because we thought the first guy was going to buy her; now we needed everything back onboard for our trip to the east coast.

Thursday was L day from Pittsburgh (leaving day). With the truck full for a second day in a row with items we would need and probably some we could really do without, we drove back up to Sandusky OH.

But now we have a problem with what to do with the truck.

Somehow we needed to get our truck back home to Pittsburgh from Sandusky OH once we left for good (in hindsight, that’s a huge haha). Fortunately, even though I only gave 3 days to think about it, one of our members from T2 CrossFit very kindly said that he would ride with us to drive it home. Perfect.

The plan for Friday morning was to set course for Buffalo NY and stop overnight at different ports (first stop Fairport OH) just before sunrise. I took the dogs for a walk while Paul got the boat ready for the off. Halfway round our walk, I heard a ‘fshpoosh’ sound, then a yelp, then a very very smelly black dog trying to rub her face on my leg. Yes, Bella just got ‘skunked’. OMG the smell was overpoweringly bad. She wasn’t too happy either.

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No-one wanted to pet Bella.

Back at the boat I soap-sudded her with Dawn dish soap but that did no good. But we were leaving so that’s what we did, smell and all. Fortunately, I was able to draw on other people whose dogs have suffered the same fate and I had more or less the correct ingredients onboard. Three days later, she still stinks but not as badly.

As already mentioned, our change of course took us to Cleveland and Edgewater YC. Through choice we docked right at the far end of the dock so had a good 0.15mile walk to the shore for anything.

First time going ashore I didn’t bother to put on the dogs their zap collars because neither of them had ever jumped off a dock into the water. Oh my, I will never say never again because the dogs suddenly disappeared to the right down a finger dock. Then there was a yap, splash, quack followed by a huge ruckus. Two dogs, one duck pretending to injured swimming away as fast as their little legs would go. Fortunately both dogs came back as soon as I called. Hauled them both out and swore zap collars next time.

Sunday morning, I decided I would go ashore to use the facilities and I would take the dogs and just tie them outside to wait. Ignored my own advice and set off with the dogs with the thought that I would leash them before we got to the duck’s finger dock. More best laid plans went out the window. The dogs did not listen at all as I called them; they just made a bee-line to their launch pad. This time, Bella listened and came back but not Ebba. She glanced at me, stuck her nose in the air and continued chasing the duck (the same one as yesterday, I think). Again long story short, apart from making me realize how easy it would be to lose a dog and how unhappy I would feel if I did, she swam almost the whole length of the dock (remember 0.15 mile) and Paul hauled her out of the water by the boat. Bloody dog.

Lesson learned: dogs walked on the leash right from the boat.

We had a good time at Edgewater YC but it was very noisy on Saturday night so we decided to move. But where to? Again, we were in limbo because we didn’t know when the survey would take place. So we turned left (westward) back the way we had just come. (It reminded me of the first time I ever visited Pittsburgh and the Eagles song Hotel California – you can check out any time you like but you can never leave; that’s another story for another time).

The weather radar looked good – no storms in the forecast or at least not until after we would be tied up somewhere. And that’s another haha.

We departed the pier heads at 14:20hr with minimal wind and waves, partly cloudy skies and nothing threatening on the horizon. Set course for Sandusky Bay, turned on the auto pilot and sat back prepared to enjoy the ride.

And then of course, a blip appeared on the radar, the clouds darkened, black streak flowed out of the bottom of the darkened clouds and we knew the weather forecaster were not quite right; again.

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The beginning of the initial storm – tracking SE @ 15Kts

We watched the track of the storm and adjusted our course accordingly to skirt around the top of the storm and this seemed to be working until another cell began to develop at the north end of the now very big storm. But Catawba Island did its thing and split the storm so we managed to push through between them both without getting wet. It did get very windy on the backside of both storms and with the change of wind direction to the north, the air temperature dropped drastically and the waves grew very rapidly.

With our altered heading, Kelleys Island was now a closer destination than Sandusky Bay; it was about 19:00hr by now. So that is where we ended up – Seaway Marina. I made a very rooky error though as we were coming alongside the dock wall – I got my hand caught between the dock post and the boat. Thought I had crushed it to pieces as it happened. Fortunately though, the bit that got caught was the fleshy bit between the thumb and first finger. I have to say, it is rather tender to touch and is a little swollen but I have no restricted movement with any of the fingers.

Not sure what we will do for the next couple of days. I do know we have to be back in Sandusky Harbor Marina by Wednesday night for the survey/haul out on Thursday.

And then we will be faced with the next dilemma – we have no car in Sandusky.

Bearing in mind we have almost 2 months worth of dog food onboard as well as all the other stuff we repacked on the boat when we thought we were going to the Chesapeake, one truck load won’t cut it. Also we have to go home to Pittsburgh to collect all the stuff there that we deliberately left off the GB42 but will need on the KK54.

But it all has a knack of turning out OK.

A little plug for the Edgewater end of Cleveland. For the two days we were there (over the weekend), the park was kept amazingly clean and the beach has a doggy friendly section. It was awesome. You have to walk past the people’s beach but then you can let the dogs off-leash and they have a blast – open beach and the lake.

Monday, moved on to a ball at Put-In-Bay. Going to watch some of Junior Bay Sailing Regatta and reminisce. Maybe a night at anchor on Tuesday and then back to Sandusky Harbor Marina. Who knows? We’ll see which way the wind is blowing.

Thank you for reading. It is rather long.

Joanna

Written Friday, 16 September from home.

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Watching for the next wave

That’s correct; the season is almost finished. Our vacation is over, we are home, came home yesterday, and the boat will be hauled out in less than two weeks.. The weather forecast which had seemed OK at the beginning of our final two weeks, crapped out on us again with winds blowing well into the high 20 kt. Still we had fun. And so did the dogs.

After our first day playing in AbFab, we continued the practice Wednesday-Sunday. We didn’t use San Graal to go anywhere as the forecast couldn’t string together two days in a row where the wind would be favorable for anchoring or passage-making; but the beginning of the second week looked promising.

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This is where they ran. Was covered with water at the beginning of the season

We explored harbors and beaches we hadn’t got to/couldn’t get to with the big boat. There is something to be said for stepping off the boat into knee deep water and walking the anchor in to set it. We took picnic lunches and treats for the dogs. We met other dogs and their owners and the dogs had wonderful puppy play dates. And they got to run. And run. And run. Probably ruined them as hunting dogs now because they spent most of their time flushing and chasing after seagulls and sandpipers.

We tied the RIB to the dock across from the big boat and every time the dogs would come back from shore to San Graal, Ebba would invariably jump into AbFab and look at us expectantly, like, “Come on, let’s go play.” And she just loved the speed and trying to eat the bow waves.

On one occasion, we came back from a burn around the bay and obviously both dogs were desperate to potty because as we came close to the dock, even before we had had time to wrap a rope around a cleat, both dogs jump off on to the dock and side-by-side, they trotted down towards shore, pee’d, and together, trotted back to the boat. And neither Paul nor I had to call them once. It was very funny and rather cute to watch.

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Long tether

As I mentioned, Ebba loves to lean over the side and try to eat the waves. Or at least she barks very loudly at them. I, obviously, have to keep a very tight leash on her otherwise she would be over the side and in the water in her excitement. Initially, I let her have enough slack so that she was able to put her head almost in the water. But then I got to thinking that that was probably not such a good idea. If she fell overboard whilst we were doing 20+kt, the drag would probably rip off her head. So I shortened her leash, much to her annoyance, and reasoned that if she did slip over then at least it would only be her back legs that got dragged.

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Shorter tether

And as if to vilify my reasoning and actions, Paul shared an article published in a boating magazine, Practical Boat Owner, that had done a study on tethers – long vs short – and concluded that although the short tether is more bothersome in that it has to be continually clipped, unclipped and reclipped, it was more likely to prevent you from drowning and/or being bashed against the hull of the boat.

This week, our last week of vacation, we managed to get across to Canada and visited Colchester Harbor – a new port for us. Very tiny, lovely people, dog friendly, a rather weedy beach (but that was probably because they had had strong onshore winds) and town is closed on Mondays – when we were there. The plan was to spend the night there and then mosey on eastwards to Leamington, spend the night there and then come back across to Sandusky. But the wind decided to switch direction and strength earlier than predicted so we left Colchester in an increasing SW wind – bad direction for Colchester’s harbor. Narrow entrance + big waves made for some nerve-wracking moments. We ended up at Middle Bass Island State Park Marina.

On my soap box: all Canadian marinas monitor, I think, CH 16 and 68. US marinas have no consistency in channels monitored. So calling MBISPM on CH 9, then 16, and 68 was met with utter silence. I ended up calling on the phone to make sure there was room for us. When I registered, I asked if they had heard my calling – I always wonder if the radio has malfunctioned – and they said, “No”. Hmm … “don’t you monitor CH 16?” “No, only CH 71.” I thought it was unwritten boating law that everyone listening to marine radio would listen to/dual watch with CH 16, the international distress calling channel because you never know, you might just be the one to pick up the Mayday distress call and need to pass it on to the Coast Guard.  Off my soap box.

I have always had mixed feelings about MBI marina, mainly because of the amount of goose poop that was always lying on the ground. I knew it wouldn’t be a good match for the dogs because if there is one delicacy that my dogs love, it is goose poop. Fresh or old, doesn’t make a difference. However, I was pleasantly surprised this time; there was very little around. Made walking the dogs so much more fun without having to constantly tell them to, “Leave it”. And because the place was virtually empty, they were very lenient about me not putting the dogs on their leashes. I know the staff must have seen the dogs running but they didn’t cause any trouble, the dogs or the staff. And we found a new path through the trees to explore with squirrels and chipmunks and a few geese and lots of ducks. Dog heaven.

One thing that did come out of this forced in-harbor stay was that I managed to get both dogs to run with me while on their leashes. Ebba was already a master at it but Bella was rather a loose cannon when squirrels were darting about. Ebba did a good job of setting the example and Bella is a fast learner and a good mimicker.

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Hard to take a selfie when bouncing along at 20kt

So here we are, at the end of another season, one that was rather shorter than usual due to one thing or another, David and Bekah had a baby and we had to of and visit, we opened our own gym, Anna and Brad got married, Anna qualified for the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games … But it was a good one particularly with respect to the learning curve for both us, Paul and me, and the dogs. Last year, we had Ebba, one dog on board; we really were quite apprehensive at the start of this season as to how the dogs would cope together in such a confined space. And we had similar issues. Ultimately though, all’s well that ends well except we never got them to pee or poop on the boat. But most importantly, the dogs like boating and, we like Boating with Dogs!

Written Wednesday 7 September 2016

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At anchor off Kelleys Island’s State Park campground

Today was the first day of the second part of our ‘holiday’ for this year. We had to take a break from cruising because we had a wedding to attend. And it was a beautiful wedding too. Congratulations to Anna and Brad.

But I digress. Really, yesterday was the first day – very simple, all we had to do was pack the truck with everything except the kitchen sink this time, and head north. That kinda changed though as I had a brilliant idea on my return from my super early workout at T²CrossFit, and as I parked my car in the garage next to AbFab and accumulated junk, “Why don’t we take the RIB with us given that the weather forecast was deteriorating for extended cruising?” “Brilliant”, says Paul and then all hell breaks loose.

You see, it’s just not that simple. It should be but it isn’t – hooking up the trailer and pulling it and the boat out of the garage wasn’t going to happen. Recall I mentioned accumulated junk? Hmmm. There is a lot of it and it is all around and in front of the trailer, along with other stuff that isn’t junk but still needed to be moved.

I still had my packing plan for food etc and had to get that done before I could give a hand with AbFab so Paul had to manage on his own. The dogs tried but even they eventually gave up and came in. Their tender, young ears couldn’t take any more of it.

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Queen of her castle (rock) Puppy Ebba

The boat has been in the garage for a while without being used so needless to say, when Paul tried to lift the engine off the ground in order to move the boat out of the garage, the engine didn’t move. No power in the battery. Plug the battery into the charger; one hour later, no power. This brilliant idea was not necessarily as shiny an idea as it was initially. Fortunately the local Auto Zone had a replacement that fitted perfectly and had charge in it. Zip, up comes the engine, out goes the boat on the trailer…. and then the roofer calls to see if he can come around to look at the roof. The dogs, in the meantime, collapse in an exasperated heap in the house.

There is plenty more but I will spare you the details – they don’t add much more to the picture that I hope I have already painted. Except, the reason I didn’t pack the kitchen sink this time was because my plan was to go shopping when we got to Sandusky; Paul would entertain the dogs while I shopped.

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Zoom, zoom around Sandusky Bay

Upon arrival in Sandusky, our first call was the launch ramp. After reversing the trailer into the water with Paul on board, my next job was to unhook the boat and push it on its way with Paul at the helm. This was going fine when I heard a little doggy squeak right next to my ear. Looked up and there was Ebba on the back cover of the truck. She had climbed out the cab’s little rear window. It was a bit of a squeeze for her but in her frantic excitement of not being left behind, she completely ignored the seat headrest digging into her chest and belly as she wormed her way out. The only way down was for her to squeeze back through; there was no way I was going to lift her down. Both dogs finally were safely aboard with Paul and they set off to meet me at the dock. Oh they were soooooo happy. All three of them.

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Fun times running, playing chase

This was really when I had planned on going to the grocery store but fortunately I didn’t because we had a great afternoon. I left everything in the truck. Paul yelled to grab bathing suits for him and me and climb aboard. My bathing suit (aka sports bra and shorts) was in the truck! So was Paul’s but who cared. The dogs wanted to go swimming and Paul wanted to blast around the Bay. So we did, all of it.

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Not so much room on AbFab as on San Graal

The dogs swam and swam then ran and ran and chased and chased the birds.

We were all so tired when we eventually got back to the dock to say Hi to San Graal. Which we did by giving her a bath. I would hate to see her if we left her for 3 weeks instead of 2. The spiders, webs, dead flies and insect poop were all just disgusting.

That done, the truck unloaded, the onboard fridges packed with the food that I did bring, there was now no way I was going to the grocery store. I’d go tomorrow.

Ha! That didn’t happen either.

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Being responsible : Paul carrying full poop bag back to the boat.

After a walk/run, breakfast and lazy half a morning, the plan was to pack a picnic lunch with tea in our hot mugs, zoom to the north side of Kelleys Island and anchor off the beach and swim, walk, whatever. Which we did. On the way across, at first Ebba and Bella were really excited, barking at and trying to swat the waves. Eventually though, Bella decided that bouncing off one wave to the next was not such a good idea and lay down. Ebba kept swatting though even she succumbed eventually and lay down. I think Ebba, at least, also felt a little queasy but fortunately she wasn’t sick. The beach and swim made up for it.

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Making sure the anchor is set, “Yes, my foot is on it.”

We had our picnic, then rather than heading straight back to the marina, we decided to visit Put-In-Bay. The thought processes behind this were very practical actually. Between Kelleys Island and South Bass Island, the waves would be less because we were in the lee of South Bass Island. And after leaving Put-In-Bay, there is a little dog-leg to the south west around the south west end of the island and then ‘surf the waves all the way home’.

By this time, the temperature on shore ‘felt like 101F’. Why would we go back to the marina and swelter there? So we didn’t. We anchored off the east side of Sandy Point, where we had been yesterday, and let the dogs go again. Today, there was no-one else on the beach so we just let the dogs run and swim, just whatever they wanted to do. Now, needless to say, they are tired.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring. Supposed to be as hot and windier. Guess we’ll just have to go boating with our dogs!

IMG_1609Today we made it home (for the boat). After another early start, left the dock at 06:25, watched the sunrise over the Detroit River Channel and then chugged our way across Lake Erie. The reason we left so early again was to try to beat the forecasted storms and high winds. Even at 09:00am the winds were blowing 12-16mph  (7-8mph more than was forecasted). We had a rather wet ride across the lake. Not because it rained, but because the trajectory of the waves was such that when they hit the boat, spray went everywhere.IMG_1594

This last week has rather been a hurry up and wait event; again because of the wind direction and strength. We ended up having to take advantage of the days when the wind was favorable to take big chunks of mileage out of our trip home. So we have had 10hr, 8hr and 6hr days. The dogs have been real troopers. I just wish I had the same bladder control as they do. (Maybe I wouldn’t pee when I jump rope if I had their bladder strength.)

They are funny though. As soon as I go down to the deck and pick up a rope, they are there on the foredeck with their heads stuck through the rail trying to decide which side we will be tying up, ready to make a quick break for it to the nearest grassy plot.

I forgot to included these next two photos last time.

IMG_1459We were motoring through the islands in the North Channel and came across a lady (in a boat) towing 3 Optimist dinghies, spars, kids, sails and all stowed in the dinghies. In this area, there are no roads; it is all rocky islands so I am not sure to where they were going. But they looked as though they were having fun.

IMG_1446This next picture is really quite bizarre. Three guys on a raft holding a boat supported on stands. I think the distribution of weight on the raft was pretty critical. One backward step and the engine would be underwater.

The majority of the harbors we visited were OK with the dogs. The staff and other boaters were very tolerant and patient especially since Ebba figured out that she could jump off the boat and not be followed by Bella. Bella usually ratted her out though by barking from the foredeck.

IMG_1477At DeTour Village Marina, to walk the dogs, I took them around the other side of the harbour and walked out on the break wall. The dogs had a good time climbing over the rocks and swimming after the ducks.

IMG_1478Whilst they were doing that, I was studying the flora. Peas. Or maybe beans. I haven’t seen peas/beans growing in a ‘hedgerow’ for years. Actually not since we left the UK. And here they were, growing so thickly they were forming a hedge. And the pods were forming too. If we went back in probably 3 weeks, the pods would be ready for plucking.IMG_1469

IMG_1550During our trip we did turn the odometer over at 10,000nm since we have had the boat.

IMG_1554The dogs were duly impressed.

IMG_1611Back in the marina, we were moving stuff to clean and this jumped out. Well not exactly jumped but it did make me jump. And scream a little.  Not sure when it climbed aboard but it has now moved house.

IMG_1612To finish off, it was a beautiful sunset.

Three weeks; 1045 statute miles; 20 different harbors /marinas /anchorages; way too many pounds of fudge; only one dinner of fish and chips; one portion of sweet potato fries (specially sent out for and cooked by the chef at Grosse Isle YC); lost count of the miles I walked with the dogs; lots of swims in water so cold I wouldn’t normally have immersed more than my big toe but the dogs insisted; and finally, countless laughs and frustrations from boating with dogs.

Thanks for reading.

Joanna

San Graal

T²CrossFit

(Written Friday, 5 August 2016)

IMG_1277Our departure from Presque Isle wasn’t quite so early as the previous few departures had been. We only had around 20 miles to go up the coast to Rogers City. Again we had beautiful conditions; this time though the wind was slightly on the quarter so we had some breeze flowing over the boat to help keep the flies away. Saw this fine vessel on the way.

Pulled into Rogers City and tied up just behind the gas dock. This dock is usually OK; we’ve been there before. But this time we decided to move over to the wall at the other end of the marina – as far away from the park as possible. The city was just setting up for its annual Nautical Festival. The traveling fair rides come into town with the ‘win a goldfish by frightening it to death when your ping pong ball lands in its bowl’, and the ‘pop a balloon and win a little plastic toy or play again to win something bigger’ side shows setting up alongside them. But the main reason we moved was that in the park pavilion each evening there is a band playing live until way past our bedtime. Last night it was Polka. A couple of Polka tunes are quite catchy but 4 hours is just a little too much. Polka, Polka, Polka.

Went grocery shopping to restock the boat’s fridges. The grocery store is 1 mile away, and it was 90F. And it is uphill. In the past, Paul and I have managed, rather precariously, to carry the goods back on our bikes. This year, however, that wasn’t going to happen; two dogs don’t allow for bike riding and grocery shopping carrying. So I called the Family Fare Supermarket before going, to see if there was a delivery service. The lady to whom I spoke was very gracious as she told me that they no longer had an official service. My heart sank. “But,” she continued, “I am sure I can find one of our staff to help you out and take you back to the marina.” My heart soared. And that is just what happened. It was brilliant.

IMG_1292Last night’s walk with the dogs found us on a beach to the south of the city. Even though we have been to Rogers City a few time before, I hadn’t known of its existence. However, it is brilliant for the dogs – long for running, clean (no food papers etc) so no ‘leave it’, not crowded and the lake for swimming  (wasn’t prepared for a swim then). But I was ready for it this morning – went dressed to swim with the dogs.

Paul has a little routine with Ebba that after breakfast he takes her out (in this case off the boat) and throws something for her to fetch and other obedience training. This morning, however, he was trying to finish a couple of emails before taking her but Ebba didn’t understand. She licked him, ‘talked’ to him, put her front paws up on the seat next to him, laid her head in his lap but all to no avail. All she got was the brush off. And tension was building; so I took the dogs for a walk.

Later was time for engine maintenance – change the rest of the fuel filters. Changed them and had just started to prime them when “*x*x*x *x*x*” issued forth from the engine room. The dogs and I just stared at each other. Time for another walk?

The fuel that Paul was using to prime the filters was, he thought, diesel but it didn’t smell like our normal diesel so he concluded it was gas but too late. I sniffed too and came to the same conclusion. Anyway, after a lot of umming and ahhing, and sniff-testing the outboard engine’s fuel (which is gas) we reversed his first conclusion and decided that it was diesel, just not the red stuff they sell at marinas. So that was crisis one for today. Went to look around the local stalls – bought fudge (not paleo) and a couple of books from the library’s book sale.

IMG_1305Crisis two occurred this afternoon. During last winter, Paul reconfigured the Garmin GPS network (you don’t need to understand what that is except that it provides all our wind direction/speed, boat direction/speed, course, temperature etc data) which resulted in one cable being made redundant. Today he decided to remove it. Whilst he was doing the deed, there was an occasional beep from the instruments about which I wondered. Turns out that the beeps were important; the system wouldn’t work after he’d finished. Not at all. Oh bugger. (My comment, not his.) Eventually he called Garmin, in whom he has little faith, and the rep suggested to him that there was no power getting to the system. Ever the skeptic, Paul couldn’t believe it would be that simple. Long story short and much more crawling around in the bridge locker to get to behind the system, i.e. the wires, turns out that somehow he blew a fuse. Changed the fuse and it all worked. Oh. My. Gosh. You have no idea how relieved I was when the first screen popped back to life.

IMG_1310Time for a walk. And a swim. By now the wind is blowing 17mph and gusting over 20mph. The waves have built to at least 3ft and occasionally more. But these minor details didn’t stop the dogs from having a grand old time. And Paul and I had fun too. Now we have a tired puppy.

Not sure what is happening tomorrow. We had hoped that the weather would have calmed down enough for us to make the move up to Cheboygan but it is now 8:45pm and the waves are still crashing against the harbor wall.

Be safe and have a fantastic weekend.

Joanna

T2CrossFit.com

(Written Wednesday 3 August 2016)

IMG_1218.JPGSo my jubilation at both dogs going pee and poop on the boat was both very short lived and misplaced. Since that initial performance, neither dog has repeated the process. Each has plaited her legs and held on to everything. Seven hours today was getting towards the limit though.

Since my last blog, we have navigated the St Clair River, poked our noses into Port Huron but there appeared to be “no room at the inn” so to speak. So we went across the river to Sarnia and spent the night there.

We launched the paddle boards and Paul again rigged up the dogs’ swim ladder/platform so that they could come and ‘save us’ when we were drowning.

From Sarnia back across the border to Port Sanilac where the dogs just had a blast. And I have to say, reporting our return to the US was the briefest and easiest I have ever experienced. Two questions: From where? And who onboard? Oh that it was always that simple.

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Rotten wood for breakfast

Given the forecast for later in the week, our goal is to be up at or passed Rogers City by Friday, in time to shelter from the stronger winds. So yesterday and today we had to do two long days of cruising. Both dogs were brilliant. Good walk before we left and then they basically slept all day while we were cruising. They were quite nuts when we reached land and tied up though; a small price to pay.

Yesterday, we left Port Sanilac around 7am after watching a beautiful sunrise. Our destination was plotted as Port Austin, on the southern tip of Saginaw Bay. However, the conditions were so good and the dogs seemed to be doing so well that we decided to extend our trip to across Saginaw Bay to East Tawas.

Now we have been to East Tawas a few times and although it is satisfactory, it is not one of our favourite harbours. It is quite often very noisy and from where we usually dock, to get ashore, we have to run the gauntlet of several boats’ crews blocking the main dock and there is often at least one really aggressive dog. Makes going ashore a not-so-pleasant venture. But I digress.

Halfway across and I am studying the chart, I asked the question, “Why have we never been to Oscoda?” “I don’t know,” says Paul. Looking at the chart in more detail, it doesn’t look, in a normal year, that it would have enough water for us and in high water years, there is a low bridge under which we probably wouldn’t fit unless we took down our mast. Question answered – too much to do and too much uncertainty.

Cut a long story short: after three course changes between East Tawas and Oscoda, and trying to find a telephone number that worked for any marina in Oscoda, we eventually decided to chance it and kept going up the coast to Oscoda. By going there yesterday, it saved us 2 hours of extra cruising today.

Turns out that the marina we ended up at, Haglunds, isn’t really equipped to cope with ‘bigger’ boats. He freely admitted that his usual customer has a small fishing boat, 16-26ft. Forty-two feet was a challenge for him. But we tied up (and I use that word loosely, literally and metaphorically) alongside his wall, bow line and mid line tied to a wobbly ladder that didn’t appear to be really attached to anything. And the stern line was wrapped around a dinghy cleat which Ron attached while we waited.

You may think this sounds really sketchy and I suppose it was but the well in which we were docked was completely sheltered so we weren’t going anywhere anyway. I would recommend that if anyone else goes in, they make sure they have a couple of big ball fenders with them.

IMG_1234.JPGWe managed to hook up to the 15amp electric so we could boil the kettle – it’s the small things that count. But no other facilities. And SR23 passes about 50yds away from where we were.

So now all the things that Oscoda has going for it. There was plenty of water (water levels are high) and the marina is before the bridge. We didn’t get a chance to explore the town, but everyone we met was extremely friendly and patient with the dogs. There is a wonderful public beach just a stone’s throw away from where we were docked and the dogs loved that. It was sand all the way out; not stones. And the water was clean and clear and relatively warm. SR23 quieted down around 10pm and Haglunds store closed around 9pm so the whole place was really quiet.

Ron Haglund couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. He seemed quite excited to have us dock and was continuously apologizing for the lack of facilities; “it’s in the plan”. I rather think though generally he isn’t really a boater nor too bothered about his marina but he does have a great store – if you are a fisherman, boater or hunter. He has, what appears to be, every type of lure, line, rod, net etc for the fisherman; general replacement equipment including spark plugs (for our outboard engine) etc for the boating fisherman; and then guns. Rifles, shotguns, hand guns old and new, bows, arrows ….. I didn’t look too extensively but Paul spent quite a while in there and came out looking quite wistful.

I would definitely recommend Oscoda to other boaters and Haglunds for a tie-up.

Today started with a sunrise swim, for Ebba and paddle for Bella and me. Then off we went. Basically north, 8.8kt; wind basically behind us, 8.8kt ie no wind on the boat and FLIES! Ugh.

IMG_1259.JPGNo change of destination today; we made it to Presque Isle Marina right on time (7 hrs). Love this place. It, too, has a great beach but also to the east of the east pier, there is a shallow area, a little stony but sandals work, which is great for the dogs.

Have to check the weather forecast for tomorrow but I think Roger City is in our future. Need to restock provisions and then from there … who knows? Actually not telling in case the wind hears.

IMG_1263.JPGHave a great evening. Thank you for taking the time to read.

Joanna

T2CrossFit.com

I am going to start a photo album on Facebook. Here is the link: Boating With Dogs 2016

(Mostly written Friday, 29 July 2016)

Today is the first real day of our 2-part vacation. Long story. However, we left the marina yesterday after loading up the boat with everything and the kitchen sink. I swear we/I brought more stuff for 2 dogs than I ever packed for Anna and David.

Beautiful conditions greeted us as we left Sandusky Bay except that the wind was in the NE – absolutely the worst direction for anchoring/going on a ball at Put-In-Bay. However, there is one spot, the SW corner of Middle Bass Island which is a safe anchorage in NE’ly, so long as you trust the forecast when it says the wind will stay in the NE; which, for last night, it did.

Swimming yesterday evening for the dogs rather than a run ashore and the same again this morning. Both dogs have now peed on the boat, phew and eventually pooped which is a major breakthrough. (Some people are now thinking TMI but when boating with dogs, this is a really big deal.)

IMG_1103.jpgLeft Middle Bass Island just before 7 this morning and set course for Detroit River. Cut the corner of Canadian waters without reporting in so now I begin to get paranoid. (Again, long story – another blog.) As luck would have it, as we were closing in on the river channel, I was keeping tabs on a vessel that seemed to be keeping tabs on us. She (the vessel) was slowly closing the distance between us but following the channel rather than cutting the corner. Judging by the shape of her, her lines and superstructure, I surmised that it was a Coast Guard vessel but couldn’t be sure whether US or Canadian. Turns out it was Canadian and it was going to its base just up the Detroit River. Phew.

But my paranoia did not get a rest. As that vessel docked, another Coast Guard vessel left and followed us all the way up the river. And then, just as we were about to exit into Lake St Clair, a border patrol boat comes tearing up in our wake to about 3 boat lengths away, slows down, looks at our boat name (I assume), hangs there for another few minutes and then takes off. I was so certain that this one was going to board us. But, they didn’t.

IMG_1104.JPGWe did get to practice Man Overboard. No, a dog didn’t jump over or fall in. I had just given them two new toys and as I was about to go back up on to the bridge, I saw float passed, the bright pink squeaky spikey ring I had, literally, 30 seconds ago, given to Ebba. Not sure which one dropped it but both looked a little bewildered, as in, “Where has it gone? Oops.” I was quite vocal, not in an angry way but Paul looked up from steering, caught sight of it and did an about-turn. And within 1 minute we had retrieved it. By then, though, neither dog wanted to play with it. Later maybe. When we eventually docked, I found that the other new toy I had given them was MIA. Nowhere to be found.

IMG_1138.JPGSo now, as I type, we have been going for almost 8 hours and they have both been brilliant. Very placid, sleepy, not anxious. It did get a little bouncy over the first half of Lake St Clair so I brought them down to the main cabin and both disappeared down into the aft cabin and have slept again for most of the way. Ebba, at one point, was doing quite a bit of drooling and licking; thought she was feeling sea sick but she has survived without being physically ill. Couldn’t ask for more.

Made it to South Channel YC a little way up St Clair River – our usual stopping off place before launching ourselves out into Lake Huron. Normally we stay one night and leave early the next day but the wind really built overnight and today so we decided to spend another night here. The dogs loved it. Paul tied their swim ladder to the dock so they had free access to it and that’s what they did. Swim, swim, swim. And a little paddle boarding.

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Tomorrow, Sarnia CAN. Maybe. 🙂